‘Joy, gratitude, and hope’ abound at
NFE-sponsored Back-to-School fairs in Puerto Rico and Jamaica
Kicking off the school year right
Back-to-school season is full of questions: “What should I wear?” “What books will I need?” “Will I have someone to sit with at lunch?”
However, “Can I afford school supplies?” shouldn’t be one of those uncertainties.
That’s why our New Fortress Energy (NFE) Foundation helps host Back-to-School fairs in Puerto Rico and Jamaica, ensuring thousands of students get a jumpstart on their education with backpacks, supplies, medical checkups, uniform vouchers, and even haircuts.
In Puerto Rico, where we’ve teamed up with the Boys & Girls Clubs, more than 40 percent of the population falls below the federal poverty line, and natural disasters have exacerbated those challenges. In our first year, more than 300 students received new school supplies and services while also enjoying live music, tasty treats, and a robotics workshop.
“It was an activity which I consider one of great impact,” says Jose Santos Salinas, Director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico in Las Margaritas. “It was one where joy, gratitude, and hope were seen and felt – where people showed their faces of joy because their children, grandchildren, and nephews and nieces could have the materials for their first day of school. It lifted the weight off how they would manage to get the materials. Sometimes we ask ourselves, ‘Why should we help, and what impact are these initiatives having?’ I can attest that this activity helped give our participants a day of hope in knowing that there are people willing to change the world. Seeing their faces of joy is the best reward, and when my participants tell me, ‘Look how nice my backpack is, and I have the materials for school!’, for me it is worth a lot. Thank you for giving my community and my children a day they will never forget.”
In Jamaica, our Back-to-School programs in Old Harbour Bay, Montego Bay, and Clarendon have similarly benefited 3,000 students in just three years.
“This is such a great help,” says Terri-Ann Edwards, parent of a sixth-grade Old Harbour Bay Primary school student. “I appreciate it so much, especially the voucher that will help get some of her books. I’m so grateful for this because I was really worried about finding the money to do everything. She’s doing extremely well in school; I’m so proud. I encourage her in every way I can to always do her homework and her projects on time, work hard, and always do her best.”
We’re looking forward to expanding our commitment to fostering education, especially in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), to help build vibrant communities and a bright future!